PB and J biscuits

I saw the divine Reece Hignell and Jess Lemon (from Australia’s Masterchef ‘Back to Win’) share an epic 3 ingredient peanut butter biscuit recipe on Instagram.

So I thought, “let’s make it PB&J – but healthy?”

The original recipe is just 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of peanut butter and 1 egg, mixed together into balls and flattened with a fork, baked at 170*C for 12 minutes.

I changed mine up a little and used:

  • Baked at 170*C for about 15 minutes, then drizzled with Noshu low sugar white chocolate chips and served with a dollop of Natvia low sugar raspberry spread – bliss!
  • Vegan Pumpkin Soup

    Warms the soul as well as the belly!

    Ingredients (serves 2-3)

    • 200g butternut pumpkin
    • 4 large carrots
    • 125g can coconut cream
    • 4 fresh sage leaves
    • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
    • 1 litre vegetable stock
    • Chives to serve

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 200*C and roast the pumpkin and carrots until soft and golden. Allow to cool slightly.
    2. Place the roasted pumpkin and carrot, sage, rosemary, stock and coconut cream in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Alternatively, place the mixture in a large bowl or saucepan and blend with a stick blender until smooth.
    3. Serve hot with chives on top.

    Best-Ever Potato Salad (with Saffron Garlic Aioli)

    This is an extra-ordinarily big call to make but believe me when I say this is one potato salad you won’t forget in a long time! I made both the non-vegan and vegan version for Christmas and can confirm that both are rather sensational.

    Ingredients 

    • 1 medium sweet potato, washed well (+/- peeled, up to you!)
    • 4 Kippfler potatoes, washed well (+/- peeled, up to you!)
    • 1 leek, green portion removed and finely chopped
    • 3/4 cup garlic aioli (or vegan mayonnaise with 1 clove garlic)
    • Small pinch of saffron threads
    • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

    Method

    1. Prick the Kippfler potatoes. Chop the sweet potato into chunks.
    2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and boil the Kippfler potatoes until soft. Remove and do the same with the sweet potato.
    3. Heat a frypan over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil and fry the leeks until soft.
    4. Allow the saffron threads to steep in 1 tbsp water until yellow in colour.
    5. Mix the aioli with the saffron mixture and chives until well combined, then toss through the leek and potatoes. Return to the fridge to chill until serving.

    Honey I Stuffed the Pumpkin

    While we’re all getting into the full swing of our New Year resolutions, I thought I’d share a few of my recipes from the festive season – starting with this stuffed pumpkin.

    I’ve seen many variations of this concept over the past few weeks, and mine is nothing fancy. But it was super easy and vegan / gluten friendly too!

    Ingredients

    • 1 large butternut pumpkin, halved
    • 1 cup black rice
    • 200g vegan cheese (I used a vegan version of Persian fetta)
    • 1 tbsp each of sunflower seeds, cranberries, pepitas
    • 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
    • 2 tbsp lemon infused olive oil

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 200*C.
    2. Place the pumpkin halves cut side up on a baking tray. Remove the seeds and bake until soft enough to scoop out a portion of the flesh in the middle (about 30 minutes).
    3. Cook the rice as per the instructions (or you can cheat by using a supermarket microwave version). Mix the rice with the seeds and olive oil until well combined.
    4. Scoop out a small portion of the pumpkin flesh. Fill the hole with the rice mixture, then top with the vegan cheese and bake until the pumpkin is soft (another 15 minutes should do).
    5. Serve hot, or portions can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 month. Enjoy!

    Roasted Cauli Salad with Tahini Turmeric Sauce

    Another easy meal-prep option that’s vegan and gluten friendly, packed full of nutrition with a hint of spice!

    Ingredients (serves 4) 

    • 1 small cauliflower
    • 1 large eggplant
    • 200g pumpkin
    • 4 large kale leaves, washed and de-veined, then finely chopped
    • 1/8 cup cranberries
    • 1/8 cup flaked almonds
    • 1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt (can use plain Greek instead)
    • 2 tbsp tahini
    • 2 tsp turmeric

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a tray with baking paper.
    2. Wash and chop the cauliflower, eggplant and pumpkin into similar sized pieces. Roast the cauliflower and eggplant on the same tray until slightly charred around the edges (about 40 minutes), and roast the pumpkin until soft and golden (about 30-40 minutes).
    3. Make the yogurt sauce by mixing the yogurt, tahini and turmeric until well combined.
    4. To assemble the salad, place the kale on the bottom, then top with the vegetables, then add the yogurt sauce, and sprinkle the almonds and cranberries on top.

    Easy Lemon Beetroot Hummus

    I’m of Lebanese heritage on Mum’s side, so hummus is in my blood. Some would say there is too much blood in my hummus stream even. But as much as I love the traditional recipes, I also love to experiment – and this tangy pretty-in-pink version is a great example of how to make better-than-store-bought hummus without the fuss!

    Ingredients 

    • 1 x 400g can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
    • 1 x 200g can beetroot (drained and rinsed)
    • 3 tbsp lemon infused olive oil (or you can use normal olive oil and add lemon zest to taste)
    • 2 tbsp unhulled tahini
    • pinch of sea salt to taste

     

     

    Method 

    1. Place the chickpeas, beetroot and tahini in the food processor and blend until starting to combine.
    2. While processing, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy, and add the sea salt to taste. Refrigerate before serving to allow the mixture to firm, then serve with your favourite crackers or vegetable sticks.

    Pumpkin Spiced Porridge

    It’s only cold here for about 3 months of the year, which means there are 12 weeks of prime-pumpkin-porridge-tasting time to be enjoyed!

    Ingredients (serves 2) 

    • 200g butternut pumpkin
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1 cup quinoa flakes
    • pinch of pumpkin spice (I use 1 tsp cinnamon with 1 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves)
    • coconut or Greek yogurt and flaked almonds to serve

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Skin and chop the pumpkin into small pieces and roast until soft and golden (approx 20-30 minutes).
    2. Place the pumpkin, spices and almond milk in a blender and process until smooth.
    3. Use the ‘pumpkin smoothie’ as a base to cook the quinoa flakes, on a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously (particularly the bottom so it doesn’t stick) until the flakes are soft and the mixture is thick and creamy. If you need to add more liquid, add more almond milk as you go.
    4. Top with yogurt and flaked almonds just before serving.

    Tip: The most time-consuming part is roasting the pumpkin. So, roast a large pumpkin early in the week so that there’s plenty on hand to make porridge whenever you fancy!

    Granola-Crusted Salmon

    I know, it sounds ridiculous, but trust me, it works! The trick is to use a granola that’s nut-based and doesn’t contain added refined sugars.

    Ingredients (serves 2) 

    • 2 salmon fillets, skin off
    • 1 small sweet potato
    • 100g baby spinach
    • 1 bunch asparagus (I prefer raw, but it can also be blanched in boiling water for 1 minute just prior to serving)

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Chop the sweet potato into rough chunks and place on a lined baking tray. Bake until soft (20 minutes).
    2. On another lined baking tray, place the salmon and bake for 10 minutes. Crust the granola in a small bowl, and while still hot, place the salmon skin side down into the granola and press firmly to stick. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, and allow to rest before serving.
    3. Serve the salmon with potato, spinach and asparagus.

    Roast Pumpkin and Eggplant Bake

    This is one of my favourite meal-prep dishes ever, and I have been known to exist off it when I’m on a week of night shift. This is vegetarian soul-food at it’s finest – packed full of veggies and unbelievably tasty, plus easily adaptable to suit the vegans, dairy-free and coeliacs among us!

    Ingredients (serves 4) 

    • 250g kent pumpkin
    • 1 large eggplant
    • 1 tin of diced tomatoes
    • 4 fresh basil leaves or 2 tsp dried basil
    • 1 clove of garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 cup salt-reduced stock (use either veggie or chicken  – use a gluten free stock to make this coeliac friendly!)
    • 1 yellow capsicum
    • 2 large carrots
    • 150g bag of baby spinach leaves (can also substitute for green kale)
    • shredded mozzarella for sprinkling on top (portion dependent on how cheesy you like it, can be substituted for dairy-free cheese instead) 

    Method 

    1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Slice the pumpkin into 1cm thick slices and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake until just soft (about 20 minutes – continue the rest of the recipe in the meantime!).
    2. Prepare the sauce: Place the tomatoes, stock, garlic and herbs into a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. If you like your sauce thicker, you can also add 1 tbsp tomato paste or substitute the tinned tomatoes for passata instead. 
    3. Prepare the rest of the veggies: Slice the eggplant width ways into discs. Dice or slice the capsicum into small strips. Also slice the carrots length ways into small discs.
    4. In an oven-proof baking dish, start by laying down a layer of eggplant slices. Top with the spinach leaves, then a layer of pumpkin, followed by the capsicum and carrots, then half the sauce and a small sprinkle of cheese. Repeat the process with another layer of eggplant, then spinach, pumpkin, capsicum and carrot, with the rest of the sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled with cheese to your liking.
    5. Bake until the eggplant is soft and the cheese on top is golden brown (about 20-30 minutes). Allow to cool slightly before serving.

    Note that even when it has been cooked, the eggplant skin can be a little tough to slice, so go slowly with a big knife! Also feel free to experiment with different types of cheese – I have used combinations of Jarlsberg, Edam, feta, mozzarella, ricotta, goats cheese and provolone with great success!